Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Cold air, warm fires, fall leaves, pumpkin pie, cuddling in blankets, family, games, laughing, eating...HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009


I went shopping today at Anthropologie with Katie and wasn't expecting to buy anything until I saw this. I had seen it in their store before, however today it was on sale!!! King Duvet for only $99 and Euro Shams for $29. Originally priced at $208 for the duvet and $49 for the shams.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Alphabet Pasta

Hudson has always loved pasta, but I recently spotted Alphabet Pasta at Trader Joe's and knew instantly it would be a big hit. He was been learning the alphabet, thanks to Sesame Street, and loved saying the letters as he ate his dinner tonight!

Yo Yo Earrings

I had some more fun with the yo yos today, and decided to make tiny ones for earrings. I think they turned out pretty cute! All I did was use a smaller circle for the pattern (about 1 to 1/12") and glued a gem in the center, then glued the earring onto the back.

Amy Butler Fabric

Today I went to Create Your Own Joy Studio to buy some Amy Butler fabric. These are the ones that I picked out. I am using the fabric to make some pillows are recover the seat of the chair I found at Merchant's Square. This studio was so cute and Kelly, the owner, offers all kinds of fun classes each month. She also sells lots of cute things, like baby blankets, aprons, cute skirts for little girls, and other stuff too. She sells her Amy Butler fabric for $7.50 per yard, which is great!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fabric Yo Yo

After shopping in downtown Mesa today I was feeling a little crafty. There's a lot you can do with all the fabric flowers and yo yos, so I thought I should learn how to make some. They are so easy to make, just a little time consuming if you're making a whole bunch. These are few yo yos that I made today. Go here to follow Heather Bailey's step by step instructions.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cruz's 1st Birthday Party

This past weekend our good friends, Jason and Jessica's little boy Cruz turned 1! I can't believe how fast all these little babies are growing up! These are pictures of the cake and cupcakes Amy and I made for Cruz's party.

Amy made the cupcake stand, and has been recovering it with different papers and ribbon for different events. She even thought of the clever idea of laminating the paper so that you can reuse it! All you need to make one is some cake boards and Styrofoam rounds (you can find both at Micheal's) for in between each level. Then you can cover it with ribbon and paper to match the cake and cupcakes. There's a step by step "How to" on Cake Journal.

I made the animals out of fondant, and had a lot of fun with it. I used the Wilton fondant, which you can also find at Micheal's and found out that the Wilton fondant it much better for making figurines and such then making them out of marshmallow fondant.

Perfect Roast Turkey

My family has been making this turkey recipe for Thanksgiving for I think a few years now, and it has become our favorite! You use a cheesecloth that is soaked in butter and wine, and baste the turkey every 30 minutes. So you can imagine how moist and delicious the turkey is when it's done! One thing we do differently is that we make our stuffing separately in another pan instead of actually stuffing the turkey.

Serves 12 to 14

  • 1 twenty- to-twenty-one-pound fresh whole turkey, giblets and neck removed from cavity and reserved
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 750-ml bottle dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • Classic Stuffing
  • 1 cup dry red or white wine, for gravy (optional)
  • Giblet Stock


  1. Rinse turkey with cool water, and dry with paper towels. Let stand for 2 hours at room temperature.
  2. Place rack on lowest level in oven. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine melted butter and white wine in a bowl. Fold a large piece of cheesecloth into quarters and cut it into a 17-inch, four-layer square. Immerse cheesecloth in the butter and wine; let soak.
  3. Place turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack in a heavy metal roasting pan. If the turkey comes with a pop-up timer, remove it; an instant-read thermometer is a much more accurate indication of doneness. Fold wing tips under turkey. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper inside turkey. Fill large cavity and neck cavity loosely with as much stuffing as they hold comfortably; do not pack tightly. (Cook remaining stuffing in a buttered baking dish for 45 minutes at 375 degrees.) Tie legs together loosely with kitchen string (a bow will be easy to untie later). Fold neck flap under, and secure with toothpicks. Rub turkey with the softened butter, and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and pepper.
  4. Lift cheesecloth out of liquid, and squeeze it slightly, leaving it very damp. Spread it evenly over the breast and about halfway down the sides of the turkey; it can cover some of the leg area. Place turkey, legs first, in oven. Cook for 30 minutes. Using a pastry brush, baste cheesecloth and exposed parts of turkey with butter and wine. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. and continue to cook for 2 1/2 more hours, basting every 30 minutes and watching pan juices; if the pan gets too full, spoon out juices, reserving them for gravy.
  5. After this third hour of cooking, carefully remove and discard cheesecloth. Turn roasting pan so that the breast is facing the back of the oven. Baste turkey with pan juices. If there are not enough juices, continue to use butter and wine. The skin gets fragile as it browns, so baste carefully. Cook 1 more hour, basting after 30 minutes.
  6. After this fourth hour of cooking, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. Do not poke into a bone. The temperature should reach 180 degrees.(stuffing should be between 140 degrees.and 160 degrees. and the turkey should be golden brown. The breast does not need to be checked for temperature. If legs are not yet fully cooked, baste turkey, return to oven, and cook another 20 to 30 minutes.
  7. When fully cooked, transfer turkey to a serving platter, and let rest for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the gravy. Pour all the pan juices into a glass measuring cup. Let stand until grease rises to the surface, about 10 minutes, then skim it off. Meanwhile, place roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup dry red or white wine, or water, to the pan. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the pan until liquid boils and all the crisp bits are unstuck from pan. Add giblet stock to pan. Stir well, and bring back to a boil. Cook until liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add the defatted pan juices, and cook over medium-high heat 10 minutes more. You will have about 2 1/2 cups of gravy. Season to taste, strain into a warm gravy boat, and serve with turkey.

Pecan Pie

You can't have Thanksgiving without some pecan pie, as least not in my family. We always make pumpkin pie too, but here's the recipe my family uses for pecan pie.

  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup karo syrup, 1/2 light and 1/2 dark
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole pecans
Preheat oven to 375 degree. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour into pie crust. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mascarpone Mini Cupcakes with Strawberry Glaze

I made these for the first time this weekend and they are very, very yummy! The cupcakes are very moist and the strawberry glaze tastes great! They are easy to make too, you just add to a white cake mix box.


  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup frozen strawberries, thawed and drained
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar


Special equipment: 4 mini muffin tins and 48 mini muffin paper cupcake liners

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the mini tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl combine the mascarpone cheese, egg whites and vegetable oil. Using a hand mixer, beat the ingredients until combined and creamy. Add the cake mix and water and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Fill the mini cups to just below the rim and bake until puffed and golden, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly in the tin then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack.

Meanwhile, puree the strawberries in a blender or small food processor. Place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Pour in the strawberry puree and whisk until smooth. Top the cooled cupcakes with the strawberry glaze. Let the cupcakes sit for a few minutes for the glaze to firm up, then serve.

  • Recipe from Giada de Laurentiis

That's Sew Lexi

These aprons are so cute and make great gifts for the holidays! You can place an order and get more information on That's Sew Lexi. She makes full and half aprons, and even matching dish towels!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chocolate Chip Mascarpone Cupcakes


  • 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (recommended: Nestle morsels)


  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (recommended: Nestle morsels)
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Special equipment: 2 (12-count) muffin pans with paper liners


For the Cupcakes:
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.
Combine the unsweetened chocolate and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until the chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes. Whisk in the mascarpone cheese until the mixture is smooth.
Beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl for 30 seconds. Stir in the mascarpone mixture. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture. Stir until just blended.
Divide the batter among the prepared muffin pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with no crumbs attached. Cool the cupcakes completely before dipping, about 1 hour.
For the Ganache:
Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl. Combine the heavy cream and vanilla extract in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until small bubbles appear on the outside edge of the cream. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate chips. Using a fork, gently stir until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Dip the tops of each cupcake in the ganache and transfer to a baking sheet. Place the dipped cupcakes in the refrigerator to set, about 15 to 20 minutes. Allow cupcakes to return to room temperature before serving.
Cook's Note: For puffier cupcakes allow the batter to rest in the muffin pans for 20 minutes before baking.

*Recipe from Giada de Laurentiis

(she's one of my favorites and has lots of great Italian recipes)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Free Boxes

The United States Postal Service is offering free flat rate boxes for the holidays. You can place your order online and the boxes will be shipped to you free of charge. You can choose a variety pack of four boxes or a 5-pack of small, medium, or large boxes. When you're ready to send your boxes you can go back to their site to pay for postage and have them picked up from your home.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Nickles Pickles

I went shopping today at Cornerstone's Boutique and one of the items that I purchased was a jar of pickles. Not what I was expecting to buy at the holiday boutique, but once I tried them I had to buy a jar! They are soo good, sliced very thin and full of flavor! They would make great gifts for the holidays. Nickles Pickles.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Toasted Pine Nuts

I love brussel sprouts and this recipe is super easy to make. You will need:

  • brussel sprouts
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • balsamic vinegar
  • pine nuts
  • lemon
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Rinse your brussel sprouts, cut of the ends, and quarter them. Place them in a bowl and toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Next season them with salt and pepper and toss. Place them on a baking sheet lined with foil. Place them in the oven for 20 minutes and toss them 2 to 3 times during roasting. While they are roasting toast the pine nuts and be careful not to burn them, they turn brown fast. When the brussel sprouts are done transfer to a serving dish, squeeze a fresh lemon over top and sprinkle with pine nuts. Serve hot.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Scallops with Wilted Spinach and Arugula

Serves 4
  • 16 large sea scallops (about 1 1/4 pounds), rinsed and dried, tough muscles removed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 7 ounces baby spinach (about 10 cups)
  • 7 ounces baby arugula (about 10 cups)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes

  1. Heat a large straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle scallops with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in skillet. Arrange scallops in skillet, and cook on 1 side until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Flip, and cook until scallops are opaque, 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
  2. Reduce heat to medium, and add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet. Add garlic, and cook for 15 seconds. Add spinach, arugula, red-pepper flakes, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook, tossing greens often, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter, top with scallops, and serve immediately.
I served this dish with a side of long grain rice or it would be great with risotto.